The text of the letter, via The Detroit Free Press:
Dear Friends and Family of Aretha:
Michelle and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to all those who have gathered in Detroit, and we join you in remembering and celebrating the life of the Queen of Soul.
From a young age, Aretha Franklin rocked the world of anyone who had the pleasure of hearing her voice. Whether bringing people together through a thrilling intersection of genres or advancing important causes through the power of song, Aretha’s work reflected the very best of our American story – in all of its hope and heart, its boldness and its unmistakable beauty.
In the example she set, both as an artist and a citizen, Aretha embodied those most revered virtues of forgiveness and reconciliation, while the music she made captured some of our deepest human desires: namely affection and respect. And through her own voice, Aretha lifted those of millions, empowering and inspiring the vulnerable, the downtrodden, and everyone who may have just needed a little love.
Aretha truly was one of a kind. And as you pay tribute, know we’ll be saying a little prayer for you. And we’ll be thinking of all of Aretha’s loved ones in the days and weeks to come.
Sincerely, Barack Obama